Roasting Kona Coffee Beans

While the type of bean and where and how it's grown impact a coffee's unique flavor signature, roasting is where the beans acquire their taste.

Roasting time only ranges from 12 to 30 minutes but those are very important minutes. During this time the beans expand as they lose moisture. This causes soluble oils to develop which impart a flavor to the beans. Roasting time will vary from batch to batch due to variations in the grade, quality, and moisture content of the beans. Even the weather at the time of roasting can affect roasting duration.

All About The Roasts

You've no doubt noticed there are different labels assigned to Kona coffee beans. Light Roast, Dark Roast, Full Roast, etc. These labels are dependent on the roasting process. A bean does not come out of the fruit as a "light" or "dark" roast, for example. That happens during the roasting process.

Light Roasts are best for experiencing the natural flavor of the coffee plant and bean. This flavor is unique to the soil and climate of the area where the bean was grown. So our Light Roast Kona coffee beans will exhibit a flavor unique to the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano on which they are grown. If you want to experience the land where the coffee came from as much as enjoying the drink itself, opt for a light roast.

Darker Roasts inhibit these origin flavors because the roasting process takes longer and is done at a higher temperature. This extracts more moisture and oil from the bean, which reduces the amount of natural flavor the bean imparts. The dominant flavor is the roasting itself.

Roasting Time For Kona Coffee Beans

Beans are roasted inside a heated drum that constantly turns the beans to ensure equal roasting on all sides. There is no set amount of time for which Kona coffee beans must be roasted to attain Light or Dark status. While the quality of the equipment and beans used can impact the final product, it's the skill of the roaster that truly determines the end result. Master roasters are true artisans.

Light Roast beans are roasted until the first "crack" or crackle. This happens when the beans expand in size. As soon as they pop, the roasting stops if the batch is to be a Light Roast.

Full and Medium Roasts are cooked longer than Light Roasts, until the "second crack" or when the beans begin popping again. Oils rise to the surface of the beans, giving them a shiny look. Full Roasts have a heavier body and may be spicy with a strong roasted flavor. These roasts are sometimes referred to as Viennese or Italian Espresso Roasts.

Dark Roasts are also called Double or French Roasts. These Kona coffee beans are roasted until they begin to smoke. The beans are very oily by this time giving off a smoky taste. The roast flavor completely masks the origin flavor of the beans.

We invite you to explore the wonders of Kona coffee beans for yourself at Honolulu Coffee. The pride we take in our beans and roasting process will be evident in every sip of kope (coffee) you take.